For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
District Attorney Chris Hicks has released the results of a case involving the sexual assault of a child. Late Monday evening, a Washoe County jury returned a guilty verdict against Mario Antonio Lemus in a trial that began last Monday. Lemus was convicted on three counts of Sexual Assault of a Child Under 14 Years of Age and one count of Lewdness with a Child Under 14 Years of Age. Lemus will be sentenced on July 30, 2018 in Department 8, Washoe County District Court and faces multiple terms of life in prison.
The case against Lemus began in July, 2016 when the Sparks Police Department (SPD) responded to Saint Mary’s Hospital on a report of a sexual assault of a 13 year old girl. The victim in the case had reported to two female family members that she had been sexually assaulted by a male relative and was taken to the hospital after disclosing the abuse and expressing concern about pregnancy. SPD detectives responded and an investigation was coordinated through the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Based on interviews and other evidence, detectives determined that the victim had been sexually assaulted since the age of seven or eight by Lemus. The victim was able to provide details of several instances of sexual assault and lewdness perpetrated by Lemus at various residences over the prior years. Following the investigation, SPD detectives received information that Lemus had fled to another country. They requested an arrest warrant and Lemus was ultimately taken into custody at a Southern California airport in March, 2017 when he attempted to return to the United States.
During trial, Chief Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hicks and Deputy District Attorney Marilee Cate presented evidence and testimony over the course of 5 days, including the emotional testimony of the child victim and video of Lemus’ confession to law enforcement. The jury ultimately found Lemus guilty of all 4 counts.The District Attorney’s Office credits the Washoe County CAC and its Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) of WCDA prosecutors, local law enforcement, advocates, child protection workers, medical staff and mental health professionals with the successful prosecution of the Lemus case, and many others. The victim and non-offending family members in this case were provided advocacy, counseling and support services in addition to effective investigation and prosecution efforts.